Why ‘Shigekuni’?

This blog is named after a character in Mishima’s tetralogy. Here is a brief excerpt from a wonderful essay by the awesome William T. Vollmann on that character and Mishima

The reincarnated person can always be identified by a certain birthmark, and the identification gets accomplished by the other protagonist, whose name is Shigekuni Honda and who is a judge—perfect profession for a soul whose task it is to decide what might or might not be true and what existence means. […] Honda never succeeds in preventing anybody’s death agonies. Scrupulous, empathetic, intelligent, aching to understand, and ultimately impotent, Honda might as well be—a novelist. […]

[…] Mishima was ultimately more like Honda […], which is not a terrible thing: while he may be sterile, in the sense that he will not bring about any “great event,” his empathy will endure. Honda’s seeking, his sincerity, his fidelity to that not necessarily well-founded belief in the reincarnations, these are the strands of perception, conceptualization, and devotion which sustain the patterns of reccurrence into something permanent and precious.

The tetralogy’s end […] offers the prospect of something different, something not only as erotic as suicide, but perhaps more elusive, something worthwhile enough to warrant not killing oneself while one tries to uncover it. Very possibly, if The Temple of Dawn is any indication, this something could have been religion or philosophy. I wonder how feverishly Mishima hunted for it in his wood-clad study with its bookshelved walls. He didn’t find it, and that is why every year on November 25, the white-clad Shinto priests lay down prayer streamers on the altar, which resembles a tabletop model of round-towered castles, and the blood-red disc of the Hinomaru flag hangs above them in the darkness beside Mishima’s portrait.

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